An image of what a Western Canada Marine Response Corporation base could look like on Nanaimo’s south downtown waterfront. (WCMRC image)

Work could start this spring on oil-spill-response dock in Nanaimo

Moorage and pilings will be constructed first at Nanaimo Port Authority location

The Hub City is expected to become a hub for oil-spill response in the region within the next two years.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation could begin work on moorage and pilings this spring as it prepares to build a new base on Nanaimo Port Authority land on the south downtown waterfront.

WCMRC updated Nanaimo city council on Monday about its plans locally. The corporation’s expansion is tied to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and involves increases to staff, vessel fleet and number of bases.

WCMRC communications manager Michael Lowry told city council that provincewide, the corporation will go from three bases currently to nine, double its vessel fleet to 80 and increase its personnel from 80 to 200 people.

An 80,000-square-foot Nanaimo base would have 34-35 full-time staff and 15 vessels and would become the largest oil-spill-response base on Vancouver Island and the main training centre for the Island.

story continues below

Lowry said his corporation is overseen by Transport Canada and has a mandate for spill response along the entire B.C. coastline. The current mandate is for a six-hour maximum response time in the Burrard Inlet and the mouth of the Fraser River and 18-to-72-hour maximum response times for the south coast shipping lanes. With the new bases in place, the maximum response times would be reduced to two hours and six hours, respectively.

Lowry said as Trans Mountain has pushed back its in-service dates, WCMRC has done the same.

“We are pushing back capital purchases as much as possible in those situations, but we have an obligation through the National Energy Board for all of our assets to be in place nine months prior to their in-service date,” he said.

With the pipeline project’s latest in-service date set for December 2020, Lowry said his corporation needs to be operational by March 2020; however, WCMRC is targeting September 2019 for the Nanaimo base to be fully operational.

Lowry reported to council on an open house held in Nanaimo in November and said the majority of respondents there gave positive feedback about the proposed base’s economic benefits and environmental impacts and approved of the chosen location.

“I think every organization that we can get on the water for a quick response is key for the environment and the people using the waterways,” said Coun. Jerry Hong.

Lowry said currently, WCMRC responds to 20 calls per year, the “vast majority” small spills that require an operation of no longer than one day. He said the Canadian Coast Guard has the authority to task WCMRC for any spill, regardless of size. The onus is on the businesses to self-report spills, but the coast guard can intervene when necessary.

Other bases on Vancouver Island will be at Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Saanich, Beecher Bay and Victoria. Funding comes from businesses that transport fuel over water, from major oil companies all the way down to fuel docks and even fishing lodges.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Best of the City: Live-streaming in quarantine

Arts and entertainment community resilient in the face of a pandemic

Tour de Rock arrives in Nanaimo, now it’s off to the next station

Cops for Cancer team completes Nanaimo section of Vancouver Island cycle relay

Best of the City: Burger joint is tops in Nanaimo

Newly opened Top Notch Burgers Grill and Lounge voted Best Hamburgers

Best of the City: Breathe easy

Modo Yoga wins Best Yoga Studio category during challenging time for health and wellness businesses

Nanaimo’s new NightOwls baseball team announces first player signings

Four NCAA Div. 1 players, three of them Canadians, added to roster

Tour de Rock arrives in Nanaimo, now it’s off to the next station

Cops for Cancer team completes Nanaimo section of Vancouver Island cycle relay

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mask rules inconsistent

Letter writer says he won’t pay fine for violating COVID-19 Related Measures Act

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read